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The YEA! Experience (Guest Post from the 2018 Shark Tank Winner)

June 4th, 2018 by Member Contributor

The below post is a guest submission from our 2018 YEA! winner, Zoe Bundy!

My name is Zoe, I am a student at Discovery Middle School. About a month ago, I won the Young Entrepreneurs Academy Investor Panel Shark Tank. This was an amazing experience, even just to be part of the class.

Zoe Bundy

Throughout the class, students come up with business ideas, write business plans and financials plans. Then, the students pitch their ideas to “shark” investors, like ABC’s Shark Tank. There, the students will receive funding for their business and many opportunities are made. At the end of the night, one student is selected to represent Fargo as the Saunders Scholar. This was the award I won.

Through the year in YEA! you meet local business leaders who have already started major businesses. The instructors are incredible. Josh Teigen, chief visionary at Protosthetics, was our first instructor. His passion and vision for teen entrepreneurs definitely shines through his teaching. Andrew Abernathey from Abernathey Holdings and Jeff Thomas, president of Cornerstone Bank, were the second instructors. They both know financials well, and helped out with a great deal of work.

In YEA! you experience real-life problem solving, team building and communication skill building. My experience with YEA! has been nothing but awesome. I walked into YEA! with no business idea, but a strong passion for girls in STEM. I walked out of YEA! as the CEO and founder of my own company Brainy Ladies, a website that interests girls in STEM.

On her New York trip

After finding success in Fargo, I was awarded a trip to New York for my business idea, Brainy Ladies. New York was a once-in-a-lifetime learning experience. Sitting alongside other teens who had gone through the same class as you, but from all around the U.S., was incredible. Every idea was creative, new and solving a problem of some sort! New ideas sparked in my mind! The competition was fun. I mean, who doesn’t want to present to a panel of super cool judges?!

The best part about New York was the museum. For dinner the first night, all of the YEA students from around the U.S. went to the Strong National Museum of Play. The museum had all the greatest toys, from Nintendo and Paperboy to superheroes and pinball. The museum was also a great learning experience, just to see all the ideas people had and the great entrepreneurs that shined through their product. Although, pitching my speech to judges was pretty great, the museum takes first place in my book. Altogether, the New York trip was incredible, and I can’t wait to see all the great ideas the future has to offer!

YEA! has taught me just about everything about business I know, and has also taught me that anyone can be an entrepreneur. If you are thinking about YEA! I 150% recommend it! There was never a dull moment! If you are thinking about sponsoring YEA! please do! Near the end of YEA! each student gets a mentor to help them along the way. These mentors are local business owners, employees and other business people who dedicate three hours of their time for 10 weeks. Help me out and let’s make YEA! 2018-19 the best it can be!

-Zoe Bundy

Learn more about the YEA! program, and how you can get involved, HERE.

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